A child wanted to see the latest superhero movie that had just come out in theaters. His mom did a little research and found that the movie had some profanity in a short scene that required a “mature” movie rating. She told her son that he should not see this movie because it had this scene in it. Her son, undeterred, was insistent on going, saying that this scene was short and the rest of the movie was great. Besides, everyone he knew was going to see it, so he had to go!

His mom had an idea, and did some baking. She told her son that he could go under one condition: he would first eat some brownies that she just made with a special ingredient. That ingredient was a tiny amount of cyanide poison used to kill pests like rats. She told her son that she added just a little of the cyanide. She was sure he wouldn’t even be able to taste it in the brownie; in fact, it was such a small amount that he would not even feel sick from it. and the rest of the brownie mix had his favorite ingredients in it. Just like the movie: it had just a little “poison” in it, so little he’d hardly notice.

Her son got the message, and avoided the brownies and the movie. From then on, he asked his mother about any special ingredients she might have used in the food she gave him. But as he got older, being a typical kid, he still would go to movies that had a little poison in them. The allure was too great, and he told himself he could overlook the bad scenes.

Are we typical? Do we overlook the bad because we find something too tempting? There is a little (often more than a little) “poison” in the news media we consume, the music we hear, and the food we eat. What do we do about it? Usually, we go ahead and consume it. Sometimes years later we notice that the poison we consumed is still with us, because we can’t go back and un-see or un-hear it; or in the case of food, remove the damage the food caused our bodies. The poison integrates with us, becoming part of us.

Not AGE-appropriate
In this story, the mom made tainted brownies, but even without the cyanide, they contained some “poison” simply because they were sugar-laden baked brownies, and inevitably contained AGEs (Advanced Glycation Endproducts). The poison wasn’t just the obvious cyanide but also the hidden subtle poison disguised as in the delectable, tasty brownies themselves. AGEs form when sugar attaches to proteins or fats, and this process accelerates with cooking, frying, grilling, or baking. When you bake bread, for instance, and get that nice golden brown crust that smells so good, you’ve just produced a crust full of AGEs. Love grilling? Those charred stripes are pure AGEs. Most processed foods are prepared with high heat, and since higher heat produces more AGEs, processed foods are generally full of AGEs. In fact, chefs use the “Maillard reaction”, also referred to as “non-enzymatic browning”, to make caramel, improve the flavor of roasted meat, or even just to make toast. They are adding this fabulously tasting poison that customers love.

Do you think that calling it poison is excessive? You won’t get noticeably sick right after you eat some. Considering what it does to you body over the long term, though, you may agree that food AGEs are poison.

But everyone is doing it…
What’s the first question someone asks about a food or meal — is the question “is it a healthy food”, or is it “how does it taste?” Usually the latter. Which do we ask when we are considering a snack, making dinner, or going out to eat? The latter. When we crave some food, it is because of how it will make us feel, or how it tastes? You know the answer. Unfortunately, AGEs are particularly alluring, because they are sought-after flavor enhancers.

The chemical reaction that creates AGEs does not reverse; that is, once made, your body cannot unmake AGEs. The only way they can leave the body is by elimination. What makes AGEs particularly dangerous is that they are hard to remove from the body. They can cause organ changes that are permanent, because they become integral to the very structure of the organs. They fool the body into using the cross-linked proteins much like hydrogenation creates fats that the body is fooled into using to build cell membranes. Once integrated, the body has no idea that they are there and only gets rid of them by recycling when cells die and get replaced (a process called protein turnover) — this is a slow process that takes years. Proteolysis, the breakdown of proteins, when breaking down an AGE protein, results in AGE adducts, which are AGE additions to single amino acids, so even protein turnover may recycle the AGEs back into the body. Simply put, AGEs stay around a long time, and organ or gland damage from them is likely irreversible.

So just how impactful are AGEs on health and longevity? Why are they so enticing? To explore such questions, in a study published in eLife, researchers from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging conducted animal studies where they introduced purified AGEs to the animals’ diet and observed the effects. Two were notable: first, the AGEs in the diet induced a preference for more of them, with increased appetites and a tendency to overeat; second, the AGEs caused a decrease in longevity by 25-30%, along with increases in disease such as obesity and neurodegeneration. As stated in the study: “A mutation called glod-4 was shown to increase food intake, mediated by an AGE called MG-H1, and further analysis revealed a tyramine-dependent pathway was responsible.“ The AGEs unfortunately turned out to be very effective in creating what was essentially an addiction to them.

“We are not controlling our food intake, instead it is the food that is attempting to control us,” stated the lead researcher. Oh, and after doing this research, he changed his own diet!

Passed down through the AGEs
For people, who can go cook, bake, or fry food whenever we want, or order fast food where that is done for us, AGEs are a greater threat, because we can (and usually do) satisfy our addiction to these foods with more of them. Animals don’t normally have access to AGE foods, unless they are pets and we supply them with processed pet food, so the 25-30% longevity reduction of AGEs that the study found is likely much greater in humans. Add to that the body’s detoxifying and cleansing abilities reduce with age, and you realize that we are getting addicted to poison — which is very easily obtained.

In a review article published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers examine how AGEs are formed in food, their dangers, and how to reduce them. The first is simple — don’t cook: they found that cooking, particularly with dry heat, promotes new AGE formation by 10 to 100 times. Also, they noted that animal sourced foods, high in fat and protein (the two platforms on which AGEs are formed) are “generally AGE-rich and prone to new AGE formation during cooking.” They noted that some AGE formation occurs in the body, and that eating animal food means that you ingest the AGEs that formed in the animals’ bodies. They noted that, in animal studies, restriction of AGEs reduced vascular and kidney dysfunction, inhibited diabetes development (both type 1 and 2), improved insulin sensitivity, and accelerated wound healing. Restriction of dietary AGEs reduced markers of oxidative stress and inflammation.

Sometimes we just aren’t sufficiently motivated to improve our health by realizing that making good lifestyle choices will improve our longevity. We may feel we are a long way from old age, and we want to enjoy ourselves right now. But when we realize something is poison — is downright harmful with every bite — we may think twice about taking that bite. You don’t have to tell smokers that cigarettes will probably reduce their lifespans, but if puffing on a cigarette quickly made them nauseous, as it would for a non-smoker, they would break the habit quickly. Unfortunately, the opposite happens, and they get a nicotine rush that rewards their habit. They are addicted.

Can we learn from addiction-breaking therapies? Of course. Aversion therapy is one way, and simply thinking about the poisonous effects of AGEs in your next bite of food can be such an aversion. Imagine the scrumptious baked goodies or char-broiled steak you see as laced with cyanide— imagine you can taste it with each bite. If that isn’t sufficient aversion to cause you to steer away from AGE foods, how about realizing that you are giving way to an addiction — you don’t really want to be an addict, unable to control what you eat? This food is very addicting, in a similar way as some drugs and pleasures can be addicting. Health-wise, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — advantageous about browning food (the Maillard reaction), or cooking foods. It just decreases your longevity.

Dr. Nemec’s Review

Let’s grab a hold of the poison analogy. Alright, you’re going to eat that pizza, but first let me sprinkle some cyanide on top. I promise you won’t taste it and I’m only putting small amounts. Are you still going to eat the pizza? Usually not, because you don’t want to die right this moment. So when you eat cooked food, especially cooked animal food and cooked plant food with carbs or sugars, they turn into AGEs which are poison, just like cyanide, but won’t kill you as quickly. Cyanide will kill you in less than five minutes, whereas AGEs will slowly kill you. They will degenerate your organs, glands, and tissues, including your brain. They will inflame every cell in your body. They will progressively damage organs, glands, and tissues until you develop diseases like cancer, diabetes, neurological disease, dementia, autoimmune disease, and all degenerative diseases — just to name a few.

So is it really worth the price?
Not only will it reduce your longevity by at least 40%, according to the research, but it will also take away your quality of life. When we look at health we look at two aspects: quantity and quality. Quantity is the number of years you live. Quality is the life, the energy and vitality in those years.

What good does it do you to live to 100 years of age if you’re on 25 medications, disabled mentally and physically, and need constant care giving?

Now let’s take those same hundred years and imagine you can do everything you did at 60 — maybe just a a step slower, and nearly the same amount of activity, vitality, energy in life as you had when you were 60: taking no medication at all, needing no one to help you with caregiving, being totally self-sufficient. This is the QUALITY of life that we seek. Americans are getting longer life spans but surely shorter health spans.

But everyone eats this food
This is the excuse I hear from so many people. Everyone of my family eats the cooked food with AGEs. We grew up this way. This is my favorite type of food, and also the favorite of everyone I know.

So what you’re telling me is I grew up eating cyanide, and everyone you know eats cyanide; in fact, you love the taste of cyanide.

What you are saying is I grew up addicted to poison; I love the taste of poison. I don’t think I can live without the poison — and I say to you, you’re slowly dying with the poison, so you have to choose slow, debilitating, degenerating, death — with disability included. That will include mental when it degenerates your brain cells and you don’t know who you are anymore. It will include physical disability, meaning just to survive you will need a multitude of medications to patch you up, to keep you going. This produces a person with no laughter and joy, but rather one who is selfish, self-centered, angry, bitter, resentful, worry-filled, and definitely fearful.

You choose
So the choice is yours. As a TV commercial stated many years ago, talking about oil filters: the mechanic said, “You can pay me now by buying a new oil filter, or you can pay me later by replacing your whole engine to your car. The choice is yours; it’s always yours. The problem is you were brought into this world with addictions, and addictions are hard to break, but they are not unbreakable. It’s just the value you place on your life: if you value your life little, then you’ll put up with the poison and live for the pleasure of the moment; if you value your life greatly then you will endure the pain of changing your diet and lifestyle. That is legitimate pain, but that pain only lasts for approximately three months if the change is radical, and after that, it is no longer pain — and you get to reap the pleasure the harvest of not only greatly increased life span, but more importantly, greatly increased health span or quality of life.

Think on this
One final comment: are you married? Are you planning on getting married? Are you a parent? Are you planning on having children? Are you a grandparent?

If you fall into any of these categories, you owe it to your spouse, your children and your grandchildren to be at the highest level of health, physically, and mentally-emotionally. The worst thing you can do for your loved ones is to become a burden on them in your later years, so if you won’t do it for yourself, do it out of love for those who love you.

Here are the ways we can help you in your health journey:

  1. Outpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-has the most benefit of teaching, treatment, live classes and personalized coaching. This program has the most contact with Dr. Nemec with 3- 6 month programs that can be turned into a regular checking and support program for life. This is our core program that has helped so many restore their health and maintain that restoration for years.
  2. Inpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-is our four-week intensive inpatient program for those that are not in driving distance, usually over 4 hour drive. This is the program that is an intensive jumpstart with treatment, teaching, live classes and coaching designed for all our international patients along with those in the US that do not live in Illinois. This program is very effective especially when combined with our new membership program support.
  3. Stay at Home Program-is offered to continental US patients who cannot come to Total Health Institute but still want a more personal, customized plan to restore their health. This program also includes our Learn Membership Program.
  4. Membership Program is our newest program offered for those that want to work on their health at a high level and want access to the teaching at Total Health Institute along with the Forums: both Dr. Nemec’s posts and other members posting. And also, to have the chance to get personalized questions answered on the conference calls which are all archived in case you miss the call. The Membership Program has 3 levels to choose from: Learn, Overcome and Master. The difference is at the Overcome and Master levels you received one on one calls with Dr. Nemec personalizing your program for your areas of focus.